Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

February 9, 2015

Guess what? It’s another snow day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:46 am
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Looks like I called it right in my last post. I thought maybe you’d hear from me on another snow day, and here we are. Between the Martin Luther King holiday and snow days we’ve had, I’ve been to school on Monday only twice in 2015. And next week is February break from school, so perhaps February 23rd will be my next Monday at work.

In this post from a January snow day, I was playing with the lenses for my iPhone and I showed you my front yard with bird bath visible. Have a look at where the snow is on that bird bath now:
Snow piling up

Speaking of lenses, I was rather happy on Saturday morning when I thought I was going to get a great deal from B&H Photo on that lens I’ve had my eye on, the Canon 85mm 1.8. I received a notification from Canon Pricewatch that there was a used one available from B&H. I quickly went to their site and found it still available. I put it in my cart. Now B&H does not process web orders from Friday night until Saturday evening. According to the timer on the site, shopping checkout would be available again around 6:45pm. I left the site open all day and checked that the lens was still in my cart. I returned to start checkout around 6:50pm and the lens was gone from cart! I don’t understand this facet of doing business. Why was another customer allowed to buy something I had placed in the cart? Were multiple customers allowed to place the same item in their carts and the first one back to pay for it, gets it? If I had known that was the story, I would’ve been at the ready minutes before the checkout opened. I guess now I know better if I try again. Needless to say I was hugely disappointed.

Back to the snow day. Icicles are getting big
Icicles getting long

and temperatures are staying small.
Sigh

Birds have rediscovered my feeding area, enjoying what the squirrels leave behind. I found a cute little downy woodpecker on a suet cake yesterday.
downy2

downy1

But boy let me tell you, cabin fever is hitting me hard. Sarah just got back from Florida, my sister is on a cruise as we speak, and I know teacher-friends will be taking off for warm climes during the February break. I’ve been trolling Expedia daydreaming about making my escape. Anyone have any tips for scoring a great deal?

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February 2, 2015

Another Snowstorm, More Musing

I’m starting to think I should make “Snow Day Musings” a regular feature around here. Snow days from school seem to be the days lately that I find the time to blog and share what’s been happening in my little part of the world.

The last time I posted, a snow day started off what was my last week as the long term sub for 6th grade math. I’m back to working as paraprofessional again, and let me tell you it takes some getting used to. I’m so very appreciative for the experience that I had as a teacher and now I think it is going to push me in the direction I think I need to take. I’ve been practicing and studying to get ready to take the teacher’s test for middle school math. If I can pass this test,(that’s a big “IF” at this point: the test has trigonometry and calculus on it!! Ay yi yi!) I can add being able to teach 5th through 9th grade math to my teaching license. I’m currently certified to teach 5th through 12th grade social studies. Those of you familiar with the Common Core are surely aware of the dismal view of the future of social studies classes. Opportunities for social studies teachers will become fewer in the future, I’m sure, as social studies blends into English Language Arts classes. That is the way social studies is treated by the Common Core.
Thinking of the future

In that last post, I also mentioned thinking about a new lens and trying to get back into photography this year. All the white I’m surrounded by lately has me less than inspired, but I have been researching the lens. The more I read, the more I want it. I’ve decided that if I make the investment, I will definitely go with the Canon lens. The Canon is the only one in this price category (85mm portrait lens) that has autofocus. Tack sharp focus is something I’d really like to work on in my photography and I don’t think buying a manual-focus-only lens to save some money will help me reach that goal. So I’m researching and scheming and watching a few places to try to get the Canon lens for the best possible price.

My area did not receive the worst of the snow from that last storm, but just 45 minutes away in Worcester where Meghan goes to school, they did. Worcester received 34.5 inches of snow from that storm. We have been lucky that the snow has been light and fluffy rather than wet and heavy. Meghan sent me a few pictures from around campus after the storm.
Snow drift
A snow drift taller than she is

On campus at Clark
Those piles will be getting taller today!

While I am talking about college, happy news came for Sarah this weekend:
Acceptance for Sarah
Wentworth Institute of Technology is the school we went to visit last summer that I told you about in this post. It turned out to be Sarah’s first choice of all of the schools she applied to. We have not heard back from the other schools yet, but I have a feeling that unless we are unable to work with this school financially, this is where she will be enrolling for the fall. It has been a great few days for Sarah. In addition to this wonderful news, she just came home yesterday from a wonderful trip to Florida. Sarah participated in her high school’s technology department trip to Disney World. They spent 3 days taking “behind the scenes” classes with the Disney Y.E.S. program as well as having free time to explore the parks. She brought me home this adorable Mickey pendant because, in her words, she thought I deserved something nice. πŸ™‚
Mickey pendant

Before all this snow arrived, we did have a peek at the sun yesterday. (Thank goodness Sarah’s return flight was yesterday and not today!) Daphne seemed to be enjoying it.
Enjoying a spot of sunshine
She is my solar-powered golden non-retriever after all! (Yes, I say non-retriever. Daphne has never been much of a retriever. She fetched a few balls in her puppyhood days but quickly decided that game wasn’t really her style.)

And oh yeah, there was a big game of some sort yesterday too, right? Yes, of course, the Super Bowl was yesterday and our local boys, the New England Patriots, are the champs. I am not a big football person at all but I’m very happy for the hometown team. After the dismal performance of my Red Sox last year, it is very nice to have the local team to be proud of. I don’t get invited to Super Bowl parties or have a big celebration, but I do use it as an excuse to have not-so-good-for-you food. For sitting in front of the t.v. yesterday I made Queso Fundido, chicken tenders (buffalo style for me, honey mustard for Sarah) and the Pioneer Woman’s Pizza Potato Skins
Super Bowl treat
They were delicious! I may have spoiled myself against eating frozen potato skins any more these were so good. Did you know they made little tiny pepperoni slices like that? I just discovered them yesterday when I went grocery shopping and they were perfect.

And now here we are, back to today and more snow. Here’s what I found this morning at my “squirrel proof” bird feeder:
"Squirrel proof" bird feeder

A fish eye view of the backyard:
Fisheye view of snowstorm

Well, that was a lot of musing! But who knows when you’ll hear from me next – maybe the next snow day! πŸ˜‰

January 12, 2015

Snow Day Musing

It’s a snow day today. I am bummed. This is my last week of teaching and I was hoping to be able to enjoy every last moment available to me in “my” classroom. I’m sitting here at home with about an inch of snow on the ground, nothing currently falling from the sky. Supposedly there is to be a “wintry mix” approaching late morning into afternoon, and I guess that is the reason for the cancellation – possibility of difficulties at dismissal time, but right now it feels like a waste, especially for me.

I am hoping to focus back in on photography a little more this year. I’ve been perusing photography books I own, trying to learn a bit more about using Lightroom, and contemplating whether putting my old Photoshop Elements 7 program on this computer (if I can find my disk, darn it!) would be worthwhile for other types of tweaks that might not be possible in Lightroom. Elements is up to 13 now. Anyone using that program? Looks like the upgrade (I’m assuming this is for owners of previous versions of Elements) costs around $80. Worthwhile expenditure?

I’m looking a little bit at lenses too. Considering an 85mm portrait lens. Photos with faces in them are often the most interesting, aren’t they? The lens that would fit my camera that’s kind of in my price range (but still expensive!) does not have autofocus. The Canon version with autofocus is about $180 MORE than the no autofocus one. If I decide to invest in a lens, I want it to be something I will be able to make good use of. Thoughts or opinions there?

Speaking of lenses, I received a neat little gift for Christmas.
Lenses from Photojojo
This is a set of lenses for my iPhone from Photojojo. There’s a telephoto, a wide angle and a fisheye.

To show you a little comparison, here are some shots of my birdbath out in the snow (yup, I forgot to take it in for the winter – so far it seems to be okay), taken from my dining room window
Without telephoto
tightest view available from iPhone zoom

Telephoto
Tightest with the lens attached

Without wide angle
widest view without and…

Wide angle
with the wide angle lens.

The fisheye is fun to play with!
Fisheye 1
The mess of the living room on Christmas

Fisheye 2
Christmas desserts

Fisheye 3
snowy yard

Fisheye 4
Teddy has a peek outside

February 14, 2014

White Out

Well, here I am at home again for a second snow day this week. I bet most of the school kids are thrilled – this makes for an extended February break. Me, not so much. I’d rather have gone in on a 2 hour delay. This puts our last day of school up to June 20th, and let me tell you it gets hot up on the second floor where I work.

So would you like a look around my snowy world? Maybe not since so many of us are buried in the white stuff. There’s a few of you out there who still like it (yes, I’m looking at you Michaela, lol!)

Here’s a few peeks at the places you are used to seeing here on my blog, all whited out:
waiting for the plow
This is the spot where my perennial garden lives in the summer time. How about this spring time view instead?

perrenial bed

 

 

patio furniture
Deck furniture. Here’s a much better use for the deck furniture in my opinion:
Dinner on my own

 

 

buried garden
My vegetable garden. **Sigh** Looks much better this way:
garden looking good

 

 

snowy rhododendron
The big rhododendron-azalea bush looks sad like this to me. Here’s a happier view:
IMG_4425

Daydreaming of spring on this snowy day. Β At least the boys of summer are back at it – pitchers and catchers report to spring training tomorrow!

 

February 13, 2014

Here we snow again…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:14 am
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Silly dog! Doesn't know when to come in from the snow!

What’s that saying about not being smart enough to come in from a storm? I seriously wonder about Teddy sometimes. This picture is actually from last Wednesday’s snow day, but I am home again today for a snow day. **Sigh** School vacation is next week so today feels like a waste for a day off, but what can we do?

Here’s what I’m going to do. Right now I’m writing a blog post. Want to see my pretty breakfast from this morning?
Pretty breakfast

Remember that I told you recently that I’ve been doing my best to add good protein to my diet? By my calculations that breakfast contains about 25 grams. I recently learned about Ezekial bread as a source of good protein. Have you heard of it? It’s interesting. To me it tastes like whole grain bread but with a denser texture because it is made with sprouted grains rather than flour.

I plan to exercise later this morning too. I’ve got all this time on my hands so I think maybe I will try something new today. Thursday is usually a rest day with the routine I’ve been following, but I think I need to get this body moving. I’m intrigued by Jillian Michael’s newest video “Yoga Inferno” so I may give this a try. Amazon Instant Video is a great tool to have around on a day like today.

I should really refill my new bird feeder too. I don’t think I’ve shown you this one.
New feeder

I have a long history with bird feeders, and trying to find the right one. I’ve had squirrel proof ones that the squirrels have destroyed. I’ve had suet feeders that starlings and grackles do a number on almost immediately. More recently I bought glass tubed ones to prevent critters from wrecking them, but these are bad for the winter I’ve discovered. Any wet weather followed by freezing temperatures causes the seed to be stuck in ice. Now I’ve got this plastic feeder. It has a squirrel baffle on the bottom, and drainage holes too. It is easy to fill by sliding it down the pole you can see underneath.

Mr Cardinal

I think Mr. Cardinal is waiting for a refill! My apologies for the blur on some of these shots. I’ve been playing with my iPhone camera’s zoom. On the small iPhone screen these look fine of course, but blown up for computer size, not so much. I admit I’m drawn to the ease with which I can share these photos as well. I added the Flickr app to my phone and now I can just drop my shots into Flickr in no time.

Are you having a snow day where you are? What are you planning to do today? Working on my photo hunt is something you could try to pass the time!

January 3, 2014

New Snow, New Things

Filed under: Joy — Karma @ 9:23 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It is snow day number two of the 2013-14 school year. We were supposed to head back to school from the holiday break yesterday, January 2nd, but the timing of slow-paced winter storm Hercules conspired to extend our break by two days. Normally I prefer to go to school and get out earlier in June, but for these couple days I like staying home. It just feels like an uninterrupted vacation. Since the hubbub of Christmas has passed, I’m enjoying the lazy morning routine of breakfast and coffee at the computer. I’m exercising without worrying about what time I have to get a meal on the table. When she’s actually home, I’m enjoying Meghan’s company (her break from school lasts another week). For day 3 of the new year, that’s a good amount of enjoying so far.

The winter storm that caused these extra days off really has not been that bad. I’m guessing there is somewhere in the ball park of 6 inches out there.
backyard view

It is frigidly cold so the snow is very light and fluffy.
brrrrr

The leaves of the rhododendron-azalea have been curled tight.
cold rhododendron

As much as Teddy would love for me to come outside and play, it is a bit too cold for me to want to venture out.
collie profile with snow

I’ve been puttering inside, with some new things to puzzle out.

As some of you know, we purchased a new lap top to replace our slowly dying 5-year-old one a few days ago. I love the quick responsiveness of this new machine, but I’m also having to learn the ways of Windows 8. It hasn’t been too bad so far, but some things have surprised me. Some things are not as intuitive or automatic as I would have expected them to be. After owning a Kindle Fire for the last year and as a new iPhone 5 user, I feel like everything should be so easy to navigate!
New things

Another new thing in that photo is Adobe Lightroom 5 – new photo editing software I was given for Christmas. I know absolutely nothing about Lightroom. If anyone knows some good resources you would like to point me in the direction of, please do so. I’m thinking I may purchase Scott Kelby’s book about it – he has been an excellent resource in the past.

I’m still trying to decide about a new theme for this blog as well. Would you share your opinions with me about how it looks to you? I’m not as crazy about this theme on my new 17″ screen, and I’ve had it for a while now anyway. Maybe it is time for another change! If you are so inclined, tell me in the comments what size computer screen or mobile device you usually do your blog reading on, and whether there is a lot of visible empty space on this blog.

Changes and joy – they continue!

January 16, 2013

It’s a Snow Day!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 10:37 am
Tags: , , , , ,

A snow day – otherwise you normally wouldn’t be hearing from me in the middle of a Wednesday morning.

I’m kind of surprised we have the day off today. It is only a few inches of snow, but then, the forecast is saying a “wintery mix” that could cause icy conditions later in the day. Either way, I am home for the day. Maybe a good day for taking pictures for Scott’s challenge!
I have some ideas for a picture or two I’d like to get so we’ll see.

In case you didn’t already see them, a few folks did decide to try the dinner photography blog along. A common theme for all of us was forgetting to take pictures before we sat down to eat!
If you aren’t super hungry at the moment, have a look at these posts by Deb, Robin, Dawn and Michaela. My post was the one I put up this past weekend, which I think most of you already saw.
Makes you wonder, how do those food bloggers do it? I guess it is just what you do if you food blog. My sister was quite the food blogger for a while there, but she seems uninspired lately.

Speaking of food, Meghan is currently making a mess and smoking up my kitchen with a late snow-day breakfast of bacon and French toast!

Β 

Hubby is out doing what you gotta do on a snow day:

(nice pop of police orange in the middle of all that white, huh? πŸ˜‰ )
And I am sitting here at the computer, writing a post and peeking in on all of you, wearing my sweats and slippers! Doesn’t that sound like the right thing to do for a snow day?